Wherever you go, you’ll find diverse wildlife while you’re in Europe. Be it the Russian Steppe with Karakurt spider or Saiga Antelope or North-central Europe with the Racoon Dogs and Wild Boar; you’ll always find the beautiful fauna of Europe mesmerizing you. European animals are a part of the exceptional beauty that Europe offers.
These animals hold an immense amount of ecological balance, and as such, many European countries have taken the initiative to protect the habitat of these animals. In this article, we will discuss some of the unique European wildlife.
The Various Kinds of European Animals Out There
The number of animals in Europe has significantly reduced due to the advent of human civilization in Europe. This phenomenon is termed as the Holocene extinction, which caused a mass extinction of plants and animal species due to human activities.
Even though many of the previous species have gone extinct, some of them are still thriving in this continent, adding to its exquisite natural beauty. Here is a list of some of those existing animals.
1. Pine Marten
Pine marten is a member of the family-Multidae and is an omnivore. Its size is similar to that of a cat. It has got a fluffy tail, dark-brown fur, and light-orange throat patches.
The size of a female Pine marten is significantly smaller than the male ones. Their body grows to a length of about 20-21 inches in the case of males and 18-21 inches for females. The tail of a male pine marten is about 10 inches long, and for females, it’s 7-9 inches.
Pine martens prefer living in dense forests where they can keep themselves hidden. They are mostly seen in the Scottish Highlands, Ireland, and Grampian mountains and some in southern Scotland. These creatures are nocturnal, and they’re very particular about their habitat; they like to mark their territories using feces. Their favorite food seems to be fungi, small rodents, eggs, and birds, or beetles. The martens can live for around eight to ten years, according to researchers.
Reindeer are found in Greenland, Mongolia, Finland, Russian Federation, and the Svalbard Islands. What makes reindeer so pretty is their horns. It does not look like typical horns of animals. Rather it has branch-like antlers.
The reindeer also shows structural differences between the genders. The male reindeer’s length is 5.9-7.9 feet from head to rump. A female reindeer grows up to a length of 5.3-6.7 feet.
Since they’re herbivores, their diet includes leaves of plants, grasses, birches, or willows in the summer. In winter, their food changes a little due to the changing weather. They eat moss, mushrooms, and lichens at that time. Like deer, they prefer living in herds too. They’re pretty athletic and can run at a speed of about 37-50 miles per hour. They live for about 15 years, according to the research of National Geographic.
3. Arctic Fox
These animals are found in the Arctic regions and hence the name “Arctic Fox.” They’re beautiful to look at with their snow-white fur, which can change its color according to the weather. They can live at a temperature of up to -50 degrees. The Arctic foxes are carnivores. Their fur helps them to survive in the harsh cold weather by keeping them warm. Also, these exquisite beasts have a very powerful auditory sense, which helps them sense predators from a long distance. They usually live for about three to six years.
The diet of these animals mainly consists of fish, birds, and lemmings and also carrions sometimes. As mentioned before, they can change the color of their fur with the weather, and its color is white/blue-gray in the winter and changes back to brown/gray in the summer. This helps them to protect themselves from predators by camouflaging themselves with the background.
4. Golden Eagle
The golden eagle is a standout symbol and representation of Europe, and it’s one of the notable European animals. Roman legions used its magnificent symbol in their banners. Human interventions had almost caused the extinction of these beautiful birds in the past. But various preservation programs have been successful in protecting the species.
They belong to the family Accipitridae. They are super-fast and agile. Their agility helps them when preying- mostly on rabbits, squirrels, hares, and marmots.
5. Norwegian Lemming
Norwegian lemmings are one of the laziest animals in the world! They either sleep or eat, and they usually eat every 2 hours in between their sleep time. These herbivorous animals’ typical diet includes leaves, bark, berries, grass, etc.
The lemmings are blind at birth. They gain their eyesight as they mature. They reach sexual maturity at about 24 days of age and have a life cycle of around 3-5 years.
6. Wild Boar
The wild boars are ferocious animals, more aggressive than usual boars. They’re carnivores and usually feed on other animals, but they also eat nuts, roots, leaves, barks, and seeds. And they also are known for killing humans.
The female wild boars are extremely protective of their offspring, and they charge aggressively at first sight of danger. The hunters have a very hard time hunting them.
These animals weigh about 441 lbs. They use their heavy tusk to attack people and for self-defense.
7. Karakurt Spider
These venomous creatures are black and found in Corsica, southern France, and Mediterranean territories, Kazakhstan and Astrakhan region of Russia. Their bites can cause nausea, muscle spasms, low body temperature, and convulsions in humans. They are also known by the name of “Mediterranean black widow.”
The black body of these creatures is covered with 13 spots usually. In adult males, the spots are white, and in females, it is red or orange. Their size varies with their gender. The female spiders are usually bigger with a length of 0.4-0.6 inches, whereas the male ones are about half that size. They inhabit hot and dry holes in the grassy areas. These spiders are nocturnal and mostly active in the summer times.
The Saiga is mostly noticeable because of its big nose. Its body’s length is around 40-55 inches, and the tail has a length of about 2.3-4.7 inches. Its weight is within the range of 52-138 lbs and has a brown fur coating. They are mostly found in Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the western Mongolian region.
The Saiga prefer living in semi-arid desert areas or dry grasslands and feed on herbs, shrubs, lichens, and grasses. These antelopes live in herds. According to researchers, they live for around 6-10 years. It’s said that Saiga is currently one of the endangered species and need special attention for preservation.
9. Raccoon Dog
These fur-balls with dense black or grayish fur have a few similarities with dogs in terms of features. And hence they are called the raccoon dogs. They have whiskers all around their dog-like muzzle. Their legs are short with grey fur. As you’ll see, their bodies have multi-colored feathers, from grayish-white to brown. They also have a bushy tail.
These animals are found in Germany, France, Norway, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic mostly. They live near water sources and feed on birds, carrion, aquatic crustaceans, fish eggs, etc.
These animals become sexually active around the age of 9-11 months, and they live for around two to five years. They prefer living in small groups and hibernate and go hunting in pairs.
10. Camargue Horse
The Camargue horses originated in the southeastern part of France. These are covered in the white-orange coat when they grow older. They grow to a height of about 4.43-4.75 feet, and their weight is within the range of 660-880 lbs. Their primary food sources are herbs and grasses and also an indigenous plant named “Samphire.”
The Camargue horses are social animals and live in herds. The female horses gain sexual maturity at the age of 18 months, and the male horses at the age of one or two years. They live for around 20-25 years.
The European animals show vast diversity, just like the European culture. Even though over the centuries numerous species have gone extinct, there are still many of the exceptional beauties roaming in the wilderness of Europe. There are still places in this continent where you can hear wolves howling at night or bears walking. These animals have immense ecological importance. So, preservation is a much-needed step to save them from extinction. If you ever plan to take a trip to Europe, then you should try getting close to its nature along with its architecture.